Kate Howell

Kate Howell

session, year:
2015 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
SPO Sciences for Oenology, Montpellier

Country of origin:


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Download Curriculum Vitae

Mobility project

Yeasts associated with Drosophila in winegrowing environments

This project examines the distribution and composition of yeast communities associated with the wine growing area of Languedoc-Roussillon and particularly those associated with Drosophila insects. A modified pyrosequencing database will be produced to accurately assign yeast species. Comprehensive sampling will give information about the composition of yeast species in vineyards. Yeast distribution and diversity will be captured by this project, and will assist in delimiting geographic areas of wine production. The microbial consortia of the emerging pest, Drosophila suzukii will be a particular focus.

Biography & research interests

I am a microbial ecologist, investigating yeast communities in natural environments. My main fields of interest are the biochemical pathways of yeasts that influence flavor production during industrial fermentations (wine, beer and cheese) and for biotechnology applications. I completed my PhD in wine microbiology and molecular biology at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Wine Research Institute in 2005. I conducted postdoctoral training at the University of Geneva in the laboratory of Professor Howard Riezman, with elements of this research communicated in a well-regarded Science publication. Upon my return to Australia in 2007, I was appointed to a competitive academic tenure-track position at the University of Melbourne. My AgreenSkills mobility project in SPO research unit in Montpellier focused in microbial and insect ecology in agricultural systems, which is very applicable for study in the well-established and regarded wine regions in France. I also contributed to decipher the mechanisms that regulate the traits of wine and other foodstuffs.

Selected publications

Selby-Pham SNB, Howell KS, Dunshea FR, Ludbey J, Lutz A, Bennett L., 2018. Statistical modelling coupled with LC-MS analysis to predict human upper intestinal absorption of phytochemical mixtures. Food Chem. 245:353-363. Doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.10.102.

Zhang, P, Fuentes, S, Siebert, T, Krstic, M, Herderich, M, Barlow, S and Howell, KS., 2016. Terpene evolution during the development of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Shiraz grapes. Food Chemistry, 204, 463-474.

Zhang, P, Fuentes, S, Krstic, M, Herderich, M, Barlow, S and Howell, KS., 2015. Within-vineyard, Within-vine and Within-bunch Variability of Rotundone Concentration in Berries of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Shiraz. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 63 (17), 4276-4283.

Zhang, P, Howell, KS Krstic, M Herderich, M, Barlow, EWR and Fuentes S., 2015. Environmental factors and seasonality affect the concentration of rotundone in Vitis vinifera L. cv. Shiraz wine. PloS One 10 (7), e0133137. •

Lam, S and Howell, KS., 2015. Yeast species associated with Drosophila in vineyard ecosystems. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 362(20). Doi: 10.193/femsle/ fnr.170.

Awards & patents

Agreenskills + Fellowship (INRA, 2015)

Dyason Fellowship (University of Melbourne 2014)

Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation Postgraduate scholarship (2000-2004) 

Australian Postgraduate Award (2000-2004)

Talks in annual meetings

Yeasts associated with Drosophila in winegrowing environments
2015 / P5 Products and Technology / by Kate Howell / Fellows Speed Presentation


Drosophila, yeasts, wine, microbial biogeography